MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, OKINAWA, Japan -- Brig. Gen. Steven R. Rudder assumed command of 1st Marine Aircraft Wing from Maj. Gen. Christopher S. Owens July 9 at a change of command ceremony on Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.
Rudder was commissioned in June 1984 after graduating from Boston University. His previous assignment was at Headquarters Marine Corps, where he served as the legislative assistant for the commandant of the Marine Corps.
“My family and I are very excited to be here,” said Rudder. “I am impressed with what 1st MAW has accomplished. I used to talk about 1st MAW all the time at my last command, and when the commandant and all the other general officers back in D.C. talk about this Marine aircraft wing, they talk about all the great things that have been accomplished, and it’s true.”
Rudder plans to continue along the path paved by Owens and prior commanders of 1st MAW.
“Maj. Gen. Owens has been a role model for me throughout my Marine Corps career,” said Rudder. “He has done an exceptional job leading the Marines and sailors of 1st MAW, and I intend to continue leading 1st MAW to greatness and ensuring that we are able to accomplish the III MEF commanding general’s intent to ‘fight tonight.’”
Owens commanded 1st MAW, III Marine Expeditionary Force, since June 2012 and will become the commanding general of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Korea and the assistant chief of staff, C/J-5, plans and operations, Combined Forces Command, U.S. Forces Korea.
Throughout the past year, many accomplishments have been achieved, according to Owens.
“While I was in command, the wing entered a period of significant transition, and we’ve worked through several of those over the last year and laid the groundwork for several more,” said Owens. “The most visible here on Okinawa was the introduction of the MV-22B Osprey to replace our aging CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters. Already, the Marines of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 are demonstrating the tremendous capability this revolutionary aircraft brings to this vast theater.”
Although it may be difficult to leave such an excellent group of Marines, 1st MAW will be commanded by an exceptional leader, according to Owens.
“I feel supremely confident in handing over 1st MAW to Brig. Gen. Rudder,” said Owens. “I’ve known him for 25 years now, and I can attest to his proven history as a commander, his broad experience and his reputation as an accomplished aviator. He is ready to undertake the III MEF commanding general’s mandate of being prepared to ‘fight tonight,’ and he has some of the best Marines and sailors in the Marine Corps under his command. If I had the option to choose my own relief, Brig. Gen. Rudder would have been my choice.”
Thanks to Owens’ hard work, while in command of 1st MAW, he ensured his units were ready for anything in a moment’s notice, according to Lt. Gen. Kenneth J. Glueck Jr., the commanding general of III MEF.
“I don’t think that there is anyone better than Brig. Gen. Rudder that can take command of 1st MAW,” said Glueck. “I feel that 1st MAW is the most expeditionary wing we have in the Marine Corps today, and it’s going to stay that way under Brig. Gen. Rudder’s guidance. The capabilities that 1st MAW provides make us the ‘tip of the spear’- ready to deploy anywhere and everywhere at a moment’s notice.”
With a new commander in charge of 1st MAW, Owens is prepared to command MARFORK knowing that 1st MAW is in the capable hands of Rudder, according to Owens.
“I would like to thank the Marines, sailors and all other members of 1st MAW for their continued dedicated service and steadfast devotion to our mission of maintaining the highest level of readiness in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Owens. “It has been my greatest honor to serve as their commanding general.”